I hadn't read any forum posts for months and I just caught up. Firstly thanks to Tiger for continuing to organize a great contest.
Re the chess clock saga...
I have benefited from this somewhat. In the last round I think I had two games where my opponent ran out of time. More importantly, I think in each case there would have been a result in a few more turns. On the smaller planets if there had been 2 or 3 days time I'm certain there would always be a result. If not, it really should be a draw.
I would have won one and lost one in my case I think so it didn't have a bearing on the overall results but even so.
Now things are changing... Beotorum is bigger. I suspect there will be more time out results. The chess clock time really should be some sort of function of the map size or number of countries.
The games on Beotorum also have I believe demonstrated something I've thought for some time. The starting positions in this map have a much bigger bearing on the result than on the smaller maps. I'm willing to be convinced I'm wrong if anyone wants to. I'm not necessarily saying this is bad... I've benefited from it sometimes too. But it does introduce more chance into a game that is mostly skill.
On an unrelated topic...
I noticed someone commenting a while back that this is a very quiet forum. Thats true, but remember that there is a very large non-English speaking international community playing this game.
I'd like to propose two new features:
1. In the forums, a link to something like BabelFish http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_url
or Google Translator http://www.google.com.au/language_tools?hl=en
to make it easier for non English speakers can take more part in the forums.
2. In the game chat and and messages features something similar to make it easier to communicate with people who don't speak your language. Right now you can't even cut and paste the message out of the chat into a translator.